There are several sci-fi horror films that were formerly deemed flops, but the best aren’t always the most expensive or well-known ones. However, things have changed.
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While it may appear that the science fiction and horror genres don’t mix well on paper, this isn’t the case. It’s true that sci-fi and horror films are typically filled with fascinating notions and gripping atmospheres because of their love of spectacle.
It’s a delicate balancing act, but there are many excellent sci-fi horror films out there. There are a variety of subgenres that are incorporated into the best sci-fi horror films, from the Nostromo’s crew fighting against a xenomorph to a found-footage film about a kaiju attack.
Mark Birrell made the following update on October 19th, 2021: Science fiction films that scare you the most aren’t necessary those that cost a lot of money or are widely known. The impact of social commentary in both genres changes as the times and attitudes shift. As time goes on, new modern masterpieces are born, while older films might be considered timeless even if they received negative reviews when they were released.
1. Upgrade (2018)
It was in science fiction that writer/director Leigh Whannell first explored the idea of an unstoppable killer who surrenders control of his body to an advanced artificial intelligence program before tackling The Invisible Man.
Even while Upgraded doesn’t skimp on the gruesome killings, its tale is mostly based on some classic sci-fi notions concerning technology’s involvement in the loss of free will, the illusion of power, and the human need to flee blame.
2. Cube (1997)
However, despite its seeming focus on body horror and the horrifying deaths of its protagonists, Cubeis is a film that is mostly driven by its talks and its examination of the numerous views and personality types that exist in society.
They individually wake up in a massive edifice of interconnected hollow metal cubes with no idea of how or why they’ve ended up there. Trying to understand what is occurring and how they may get out of it, their arguments dive into a wide range of topics, including purpose, morality, and the psychology of authoritarians.
3. Coherence (2013)
As a backdrop for horror films, dinner parties are perfect because they bring together an interesting mix of people whose interpersonal dynamics can go in a variety of directions, making them an ideal setting for the genre.
For Coherence, a basic science-fiction premise with labyrinthine consequences is the peak of this philosophy.
Friends gather for a dinner party on the night before a comet passes, and they soon learn that it has produced an odd occurrence in space and time that they didn’t expect. An unsettling diorama depicts the film’s central theme of uncertainty, and how it impacts potential, as a group of middle-aged intellectuals grapple with their previous mistakes and regrets as they are all pushed into the same reality.
4. Predator (1987)
There are also similarly overlooked stalker horror moments mixed in with the more bloody action in Predatori, despite the film being dripping with machismo action.
It was reminiscent of the tone of several post-Vietnam War films with military-like characters, and the alien’s design evoked classic science fiction concepts like H.G. Welles’ technology in War of the Worlds, which turned the tables on characters who had been used to being the most advanced predators.
5. Prometheus (2012)
a prequel narrative to Ridley Scott’s renowned sci-fi horror film,
Unlike Blade Runner, Aliendelves significantly more deeply into the director’s other iconic sci-fi masterpiece.
Philosophical or theological themes are woven into Prometheus more directly than in other works, including humanity’s incessant desire for answers and meaning.
Despite the horrific alien looks and body horror, the film’s ultimate terror comes from David, a Machiavellian mechanical butler who murders innocent people.
A simmering wickedness lurks beneath Michael Fassbender’s sophisticated mannerisms, making the role a true horror movie villain, like Universal’s great monsters, like Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster.
6. Pitch Black (2000)
Aside from Fast & Furious, Riddick enjoys a particular place in sci-fi enthusiasts’ hearts because of the enduring features of the first movie of this series.
A crew of astronauts is stranded on a planet where night-time beasts attack and a month-long eclipse is about to begin. Pitch Black is directed by David Twohy. Richard B. Riddick’s modified eyes allow him to see in the dark, providing for a brilliant survival horror predicament that generated a lastingly popular cult sci-fi antihero in Diesel’s violent outlaw persona.
7. Slither (2006)
Slither, an overlooked monster film about an alien parasite conquering a small village, was written and directed by James Gunn before he became one of the most prominent directors working today.
With plenty of humor and body horror throughout as space slugs take over human bodies and morph them into monstrous monstroses, Slither succeeds magnificently as a spiritual successor to Fred Dekker’s classic B-moviespoofNight of the Creeps. Fearlessly, it explores both horror and science fiction’s funniest and most disgusting aspects.
8. The Fly (1986)
A scientist’s teleportation experiment turns him into a human-fly hybrid in David Cronenberg’s classic piece of body horror, The Fly, which is one of the genre’s finest examples. With Jeff Goldblum as the star, and the gory makeup effects of Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis, the film is a visual treat.
In the end, The Fly is a heartbreaking tale of loss and hope. The film was based on a short tale written by George Langelaan in 1957, but its themes may be traced back to Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.
9. Frankenstein (1931)
James Whale’s cinematic adaption of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is usually considered to be one of the first horror movies ever created. It’s difficult for a product to stand the test of time after a long period of copycats. As a sci-fi horror classic, 1931’s Frankenstein stands the test of time.
Frankenstein is a cinematic classic, from Boris Karloff’s portrayal of The Monster as a Miltonian tragic figure to the horrifying moments that censors tried to eliminate.
10. Scanners (1981)
A telepath blows up a man’s head in the iconic sequence from Scanners, but that’s just the beginning; there is so much more to the film than just its impressive practical effects, including an all-time great performance by Michael Ironside as Daryll Revok as a movie villain to be found.
Science fiction and horror fans have never been more riveted by the narrative of an evil organization and one roguish mind-reader battling it out.
11. Mimic (1997)
In Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic, science fiction and horror are seamlessly blended. New York City has been plagued by cockroaches for the past three years, and scientists have come up with an insect to rid the city of them: a vicious killer.
Mira Sorvino and Josh Brolin lead an excellent cast in del Toro’s spooky horror film, which has a meaningful message about genetic engineering.
12. The Mist (2007)
When the mist descends on a tiny town in Stephen King’s narrative “The Mist,” it is revealed to be filled with violent Lovecraftian creatures, thanks to Frank Darabont’s film version of the novel.
To check on his wife’s well-being, he locks himself in a supermarket with his son, played by Thomas Jane. While it’s an extremely dark film with some terrible twists and turns, its examination of how civilization and civility break down under strain is far more compelling a sci-fi notion.
13. Event Horizon (1997)
Film critics and moviegoers alike hated Event Horizon, yet it has since become a beloved classic among sci-fi and horror lovers both.
Rescuers learn that an Event Horizon spaceship went through a tear in the spacetime continuum, which allowed a terrible entity hidden in its own realm to seize control of the ship. It’s impossible to forget this violent trip that combines supernatural terror and theoretical physics.
14. Under The Skin (2013)
When an alien assumes the form of a beautiful lady in order to trick men into falling into a fatal trap, Scarlett Johansson is irresistible. The film has a captivating ambiance and was shot in a style that resembles a documentary.
High-concept ideas don’t get the attention they deserve because they’re presented with a high degree of realism in most sequences, but minimalistic sci-fi designs nonetheless pack a tremendous punch in this film.
15. Attack The Block (2011)
In Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block, a nurse gangs up with the robbers who robbed her earlier in the night to fight against an army of fuzzy, neon-toothed E.T.s in a London housing block.
Cult masterpiece blends comedy, horror and sci-fi action to dizzying effect, with then-newcomer John Boyega grabbing the show in his debut role.
16. Cloverfield (2008)
A massive monster attacks New York City, so Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams put their heads together to create this found-footage treasure, which spawned one of today’s most well-known sci-fi horror franchises.
For a friend’s farewell party, the protagonists begin shooting the night’s happenings. As they flee through the streets of the city in an attempt to survive an unknown terror attack, they continue filming. The unusual combination of a monster movie and a found-footage horror film was a hit with the audience.
17. Annihilation (2018)
A tiny team of scientists enters into a mysterious and ever-growing alien zone that surrounds the crash site of a meteorite collision in Annihilation, which is both thought-provoking and action-packed. Deathly beasts and weird bodily horror tragedies beset the team as time and physiology continue to blend and deform further into the zone.
It’s not only a sci-fi picture, but one that examines the nature of self-destruction and metamorphosis in both human relationships and the natural world itself.
18. The Terminator (1984)
When a futuristic robot sent back in time to assassinate the mother of a man who will one day lead a resistance against the autonomous machines and their war on humans, James Cameron’s The Terminator included themes of technophobia and self-determination.
One of the greatest horror films ever made, The Terminator is both a cautionary tale about the risks of developing sentient artificial intelligence as well as a brutal thrill ride that goes through its intricate plot at a fast pace.
19. The Thing (1982)
A lethal extraterrestrial with the ability to impersonate any living species infiltrates a group of researchers at an Antarctic station in this remake of The Thing from Another World. They will have no notion who they can rely on before too long.
Despite the fact that it was widely panned upon its initial release, The Thing has endured as a classic of the sci-fi horror hybrid genre thanks to its jaw-dropping special effects and a constant sense of suspense throughout nearly every scene.
20. Alien (1979)
Because filmmaker Ridley Scott took 45 minutes of the film to build character and relationships before an alien lifeform started ripping through the crew, the audience shares in the crew’s fear and disorientation as they are being devoured by the creature.
H.R. Giger’s designs have remained some of the most recognizable in the genre film genre. It’s hard to miss the xenomorph’s twisted human shape, but everything else in the film—the ship, the alien planet, the “space jockey,” etc.—is as gorgeous.